That is a tough question! As you know, alot of things come into play, like how good your dogs are, wheather the track is in snow or dry ground, wheather the track has been warmed by the sun then frozen again, etc. Generally speaking, you can easily run a track in the snow that is 24 hours old. On dry ground I'd say about 6-10 hours old.
Many times you will hear guys say that their dogs will run a track that is 48-72 hours old. They may be able to do that, but that does me no good because I want to catch the lion today and before dark. A lion can cover lot's of country in 48 hours.
Anyway, getting back to the question, the oldest track I have run in snow was probably about 30 hours old. An interesting thing I have seen is that sometimes you can put a hound on a track early in the morning that is 8-10 hours old and they can't run it. If you wait until the temperature rises over freezing, they can usually run it much easier. I guess it's like when you get something out of the freezer, you can't smell it until it thaws some. As a very well known houndsman once said, "The mysteries of trail scent are many."
"The worst advice you can give a person with a sour attitude is to be himself" [email protected]
Josh-ALot of it depends on the weather and a few other things. A good dog will run a good track up to three days old, if there is any scent left in it at the time. Thats where the weather plays a role. If its in the snow and it gets real warm out and melts the track out the scent leaves in less than 24 hours. If its cold and the wind dont blow to much and it snows just a skift in the track, it will hold the scent a long time. Temperature and moisture have alot to do with how long a track lasts, or scent of a track. If it gets real windy the scent disapears in a hurry, and the track fills in with snow. I have had dogs that will run a track on site only!! This sounds good but ya hate to try to keep up with a four or five day old lion track. Chances are they are 30 or 40 miles from there by then. Females leave less scent than the males do to, or it seems that way. Females dont cover as much ground as a male tho, so chances of them being that far away are alot less. Hope this helps answer the question. bcat
If you aint the lead dog the scenery never changes
One time in N Mexico I put my dogs on a track that was to old to run when I got there to hunt, just to see if they could work it, they could a little. 4 days later, I put them on it again and I barley was able to catch them off of it! Scent dispersal is a very unpredictable thing. That lion could be a long long way from there
and he might be right in the next canyon. The dogs wold have lost the track as soon as it hit bare ground but they might have kept on going on it for a long ways. I dont want to turn loose on that old of a lion in rough country, even though many times while trailing an old track, we have hit a better track coming in to the same trail. Here where I live on bare ground, some days when the dogs make a loose, on a jumped cat, its over in a few minutes. I have seen cats cross the road, that my dogs couldnt start. Every day is different! KW
Like KW said, I think sometimes my dogs start an old track, but around here they find a hotter one within a few minnutes and go with that one..
Wouldent it be great, to at least be able to understand a dogs nose?